The email inbox is one of our most utilised tools, but it can take up soooo much time, make us reactive and hijack our day so easily. Today I'm sharing some simple tools and tips for inbox domination to claim back your productivity.
1. Purposeful checking
Have certain times of the day when you check your inbox. I like 10am and 4pm to catch everything. Carve out the time you need to dive in and answer everything thoroughly. It's when we're checking on the fly that things get missed and they take up too much brain space.
Only touch once! When you check your inbox, do one of 4 things:
2. Turn off notifications
On your computer if you have them flying in over your screen, turn it off. It's distracting you and stealing precious productivity. If you have it on your phone, turn it off. And while you're there, turn off all phone notifications! :)
Check your emails on your computer only so that you can stick with purposeful checking outlined in point 1.
3. Break reply all
When someone hits 'reply all' it creates a weird loop. Everyone usually thinks the other person has it taken care of and so no one is paying all that much attention. Email only the people that need to action something for you and if you're constantly on the receiving end of a reply all, email them individually asking to be removed except if there's something you need to action.
All those emails you get and delete without reading - unsubscribe. Now.
5. Don't reply to everything
We often feel the need to reply and then that person gets a reply and replies back to you and on it goes. If no reply is totally required, just delete and save both of you precious time.
6. Every week, inbox ZERO
I like to do a deep clean at the end of every week. It's the same time as I clear inboxes, all of the random files on my desktop, all of the screenshots I've taken on my phone for notes and generally tidy everything up before I make the plan for the following week. The goal is always inbox zero so that I know there's nothing I ever missed. In reality, it's usually around 20 because there's always some sitting there that will require action the following week. But gosh, when I get that empty inbox, it's a lovely feeling!
7. If you have THOUSANDS!
I want you to start fresh and then commit to making habit changes. My favourite thing to do is highlight them all and hit 'delete all'. But that gives some heart palpitations so instead, create a folder and drag it all into there. Even tell yourself you may one day go into this gigantic folder and clear it out. But know, you're probably never going to look at it again. Archive them away and then try to do the weekly deep clean so it doesn't take over again.
8. Set up an autoresponder or email signature
I know that when I start recommending to people that they start checking email only twice a day, there's concern that they'll miss something. If you're worried, set yourself up an autoresponder letting people know when they'll hear from you. So that I'm not clogging up people's inboxes with my autoresponder, I have in my email signature "Please note, I reply to emails from Monday - Thursday 8am - 2pm".
Above all else, always experiment and try different things until you find what works for you, your business and your life. Make it easy.